Gatherings of any kind increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Diocese of British Columbia wants to minimize this risk and create safe environments for all our space users. The most important components in this endeavor include:
• creating lots of space between people
• practicing good hygiene
• staying home when feeling unwell
• instituting cleaning protocols for our spaces
When done together, these things will help keep us safe.
Re-Opening the Buildings – General Protocols
1. Risk Assessment
Assess risks by walking around common areas and taking note of commonly touched surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, countertops, light switches, etc.). Assess whether common areas are suitable for sufficient personal distancing.
2. Implement administrative measures:
- create a health self-assessment for staff / office volunteers
- review the diocesan sick leave policy with staff and ensure staff understand that those who are feeling unwell should remain at home
- determine as a team who will work in the office space at what time
- implement mandatory hygiene measures for staff and office volunteers, including: regular hand washing/sanitizing, sanitizing shared surfaces, regular washroom cleaning, washroom-use protocols (one person at a time), limiting traffic in the building, monitoring spaces for cleanliness, and having sufficient sanitizing / cleaning supplies stocked to permit safely re-opening
- consider implementing appointment-only visits
3. Install environmental measures such as a plexiglass barrier to protect office staff.
4. Post clear signage at all entries regarding:
- Social-distancing (2 metres minimum) (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
- Hand sanitizing / washing requirement (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
- Requirement to stay home if feeling unwell (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
- Requirement to sign in (template provided, under Resources)
- Occupancy limits on exterior and interior doors (by parish)
- Directional management of traffic flow, where necessary (by parish)
- Contact information in the event of queries or concerns (by parish)
5. Entrance and exit
- A single point of entry and separate point of exit are to be maintained.
- Where this is not possible, implement a plan for ensuring that outgoing and incoming groups do not encounter each other.
- All who enter the buildings are to provide their name and contact information for possible contact-tracing by the province. A sample template has been provided.
- The information collected is to be retained for 30 days and then destroyed.
7. Hand sanitization/washing
- Provision for, and assurance of, effective hand sanitization as people enter and leave the buildings. Sanitizers must have a minimum 60% alcohol content. See link to approved list of hand and surface sanitizers under Resources.
- There must be a plan for the use and sanitization of washroom (e.g. a key or hall monitor).
Re-Opening the Buildings – The Worship Space
Reopening the Building - Worship Space
1. Physical Distancing
- Seating should be arranged, or in the case of pews, designated and marked, to ensure that there is at least 2 metres distance in all directions between households / individuals in attendance.
- Attendance is limited to the number that can gather within the 2 metre distancing regulation, to a maximum of 50.
- Physical distancing regulations apply equally to parking lots and grounds.
2. Removal of high-touch items/sanitation of high-touch surfaces
- All literature, including hymn books, prayer books and brochures are to be removed from pew racks or other surfaces.
- Following each service, all high-touch areas must be sanitized. These include pew backs/chair arms; light switches; lecterns; banisters; elevator buttons; door handles; toilet handles; faucets and taps; body-pack microphones and electronics, etc.
3. Personal Protective Equipment
- Masks and/or gloves are not required for members of the congregation but are permitted. Non-medical masks are required for clergy who administer communion.
4. Children who are present must stay with their parents at all times.
5. Coffee hour continues to be suspended.
6. Outdoor Gatherings
- All provisions outlined here apply equally to outdoor gatherings